Tag Archives: gaslighting
Narcissists will use anything at their disposal to abuse & control their victims, & that even includes cars.
If a victim has hurt a narcissist somehow or even simply set boundaries with the narcissist, the narcissist may drive like a maniac in an attempt to scare the victim. After I broke off the engagement with my now ex husband, we went somewhere together & he was driving very erratically. It terrified me & I asked him to stop it. He said it was my fault he drove that way, because after I broke up with him, he didn’t care if he lived or died.
Cars are also an excellent place for a narcissist to have complete control over their victims. The victim has no means of escaping the narcissist’s car, so there is no choice but to tolerate whatever is done in that car. In my late teens when my mother’s abuse was at its worst, she refused to let me get my license & a car. Naturally, this meant she took me to & from school & work. Each ride was sheer hell for me because she screamed & raged at me the entire ride. I had no way of escaping either since I needed to get to my destinations, so there was no choice but to tolerate it.
Narcissists also often want to be the driver because this means their victim/passenger only can go where the narcissist wants to go & on her time schedule, not the victim’s. If they want to go somewhere with their victim, they will tell the victim what time they will pick him or her up, or tell the victim to come to the narcissist’s home so the narcissist can drive them to their destination. It’s all about control, & all victims know, narcissists love to have control over their victim in every possible way.
There are also some narcissists who don’t drive. This is most prevalent with covert narcissists rather than overt. They may play the naive & innocent role, claiming it is just too hard to drive. Since overt narcissists usually avoid appearing in a way that can look weak somehow, they usually drive. Again, this is all about control. If a narcissist can’t or won’t drive, this forces the narcissist’s victims to take care of her by either taking her places or doing things for her.
I’m certainly not saying that everyone who is a bad driver, who prefers to be the one driving or doesn’t drive is a narcissist, of course. Some people are simply more daring behind the wheel than others. There are also many people who develop serious anxiety behind the wheel, & they realize they shouldn’t be behind the wheel. There are others who love driving or who feel safest when they are driving. These people obviously aren’t narcissists, & you can tell they aren’t narcissists by their behavior. The daring driver is daring all of the time, not only after someone has upset him somehow. The anxious person asks for rides &/or offers gas money rather than expects others to help. The person who prefers being the driver never gets upset when someone says they want to drive or meet them somewhere.
If you have recently met someone, & think the person may be a narcissist, this is one way to help you to figure it out. Watch how the person is when it comes to driving.
Much like my last post, this one was inspired by some random ponderings related to my first marriage.
Let me set the stage for our third wedding anniversary. My ex & I were living with his parents, which was his idea & not something I wanted to do. About 2 months prior, I spontaneously severed ties with my mother. I don’t even remember why anymore, but I was angry at her. My ex also pressured me about kicking her out of my life for years. I pretty much just snapped. I hadn’t felt right about severing ties with my mother since doing it, because it wasn’t well thought out.
On the day of our anniversary, both of his parents were home, & planning to drive to my ex father in-law’s sister’s home in PA for Christmas, as they always did. My ex mother in-law & I were in the kitchen talking when the phone rang. She answered it, & suddenly darted around the corner. It was unusual, but I didn’t think much more of it. Later after my ex got home from work, I looked at the caller ID in our room & saw my parents’ number. Immediately it clicked- that was why his mom hid from me while on the phone. I mentioned it to him & said maybe I should call her back (obviously this was well before learning about NPD). He got furious with me & I got furious back. I got in my car & left to cool off for a bit.
When I got home an hour or two later, my ex mother in-law was waiting for me. She took me aside & told me I had to make things right. I upset my ex so badly, he was punching walls after I left.
I ended up being the bad guy in this whole situation. For upsetting my ex & also upsetting his parents by “storming out of the house without telling anyone i was leaving” (I was 22- didn’t realize I had to check in with anyone at this point in my life..).
You know something though? If my mother hadn’t called, none of this would have happened. She knew my ex hated her as much as she hated him. She had to know her calling would start a fight between us. Yet, she called anyway, & on our wedding anniversary of all days!
There’s also my ex. Another narcissist, he had to make my painful situation with my mother all about him & what he wanted & what he thought I should do. He also had to make sure his parents knew just how upset he was & how that was all my fault, knowing his mother would intervene.
This is typical narcissist behavior!! They just had to ruin what should have been a special & happy day. They use anything they can to destroy any joy in their victim’s life.
My point in sharing this with you, Dear Reader, is this. If you have a narcissist in your life in any way – parent, spouse, cousin, anything – be prepared for your special days to be ruined. This is one of their favorite tactics. My third anniversary with my ex is hardly the only special day that has been ruined by narcissists in my life. Countless birthday have been miserable. So many Thanksgivings & Christmases have been ruined by narcissists like my pushy, demanding in-laws & my ex & current husbands opting to spend those days with them over me that now I absolutely dread those two holidays. I used to thoroughly enjoy Christmas (not Thanksgiving so much), & now once November 1 arrives, I start dreading the pending holidays & am pretty angry until they’re done.
Narcissists love to destroy any joy in their victims. Probably because they want their victims to be as miserable as they are. It also makes them feel powerful if they can have some control over a person’s emotions. Feeling powerful is great narcissistic supply, after all, so it’s no wonder they enjoy this scenario so much.
Obviously, there is no way to stop a narcissist from ruining your special days. The best advice I have is to keep in mind that they are going to try ruining them at some point so you aren’t shocked when it happens. It will help you to be prepared.
Your best bet is if at all possible, avoid the narcissist completely on special days. If you can’t, try to keep in mind they aren’t happy until those around them are totally miserable like they are. Deprive them of that narcissistic supply. Don’t let them see that what they do & say bothers you.
Don’t you wish you knew some ways to shut the narcissist in your life down & make them behave? Well, I can’t promise you some magical words that make narcissists behave, but there are some things you can say to shut them down temporarily…
- Don’t let the narcissist change the subject. When you need to discuss something important to you such as the narcissist’s bad behavior, you can count on her changing the subject in an attempt to avoid being called out. As frustrating as it can be, keep changing the subject back to what you want to discuss.
- Let the narcissist know she doesn’t scare you. Narcissists love to intimidate their victims, but truthfully, most of their “intimidation” is nothing but smoke & mirrors. In typical bully fashion, narcissists often make threats they won’t follow through on in an attempt to scare victims into doing their will. What is the worst this person can do to you? Chances are when you think about it, you’ll realize it’s not really a lot.
- Use logic. Ask logical questions. “So you think I should do what you want even though I don’t want to do it. Why? How does doing that benefit me? Seems to me it benefits you & hurts me.” “You think I’m fat? You know I weigh 110 pounds. Unless a person is 2′ tall, that’s not fat, & I’m taller than that.” “How is it my fault you lost your job?” Doing this in a calm way calls the narcissist out in such a manner that she can’t get mad at you without looking foolish. Often, they simply change the subject when a victim does this. End of nasty comments!
- Do not allow the narcissist to make decisions for you. Any decisions that the narcissist makes for you gives her a bit of control over you, even if it’s something as simple as what you order for dinner. If she tells you to try the soup, order a sandwich. Simply say something like, “No thanks.. I want to do/try this instead.” in a calm manner & follow through.
- Do not take orders from the narcissist. Narcissists do love to control others, don’t they?! My mother used to bark out orders to me like I was the hired help. I found a way to put a stop to it when I realized just how much she enjoyed doing this. When she told me to do something, I would do it but add in a comment like, “Of course! I’d be glad to do it since you asked so nicely. You’re welcome!” The first time I did that, the look of shock on her face was priceless. But, it did change her behavior for a bit. When she slid into her old habits, I said the same kind of comment & she behaved again for a while. Or, if it was something I didn’t want to do, I’d nicely say, “Nope. Not gonna happen.” & change the subject. Usually a small narcissistic rage followed both of these, but it was very small usually consisting of a few snarky comments.
- Say, “no” without any explanation. This might just make the narcissist’s head explode.. lol There isn’t one narcissist alive who is ok with being told no, but especially sans a good explanation. You owe no one any explanation, especially a narcissist who will just twist your words around to make you look & feel bad, so don’t give them that opportunity. Honestly, doing this can kinda be fun too.. if you’ve read this story of mine before, I apologize for the repeat but it’s such a good example! Years ago, when my husband & I were at his parents’ house, my mother in-law said she wanted me to do something for her. I didn’t want to, plus I had an appointment on the day in question. Although I could’ve rearranged things, I opted not to because she was so hateful to me. “Quality time” with her was not something I wanted. When she told me I could do this thing, I said no, I couldn’t. She said, “Oh. Well it must be awful important if you won’t help me because of it.” I gave a non committal “hmm mm.” As the visit wore on, she kept bringing it up. “You must be doing something for your parents that day.” “Nope.” I forget what all she asked me, but each time, I either said no or didn’t respond at all. By the time we left her house, I was surprised her head didn’t explode! She was dying to know my plans & couldn’t get mad at me for not sharing them without looking like a jerk to my father in-law & husband! It was amazing!!!
Although nothing can stop narcissists completely, doing these simple things will help you to keep your sanity & make them behave better even if only temporarily. I wish you the best in your situation!
This day is a difficult one for me. On November 28, 1990, my mother physically assaulted me.
It was the day before Thanksgiving. I got home from work & as soon as I walked through the door, I could tell my mother was itching for a fight. No idea why. My father could see it too, so he quickly said he got a new model airplane & wanted me to see it (we shared a love of models). I practically ran downstairs. I knew it was best never to give in when she was in that mood, so I was grateful for the means of escape.
We were downstairs for a few minutes when my mother stood at the top of the steps, yelling at me. I’m not proud of it, but I finally had enough when she called my car “a hunk of junk” or something like that. I snapped & cussed her out. It just happened. I don’t think the words went near my brain – they just came out. This enraged her, & she started yelling at my father. “Did you hear what she just said to me!? Are you going to let her get away with that?!” My father quietly went upstairs, & left the house while my mother raged at him.
Meanwhile, I went into my room to grab my keys & purse so I could do the same. As I walked back down the hall to get to the door, my mother stepped in my path. She told me she wasn’t going to let me leave. I told her get out of my way before I make you do it. She blocked the doorway by putting her hands & feet against it. I pushed her aside (not knocking her down, just knocking her a bit off balance so I could rush past her). I ran to grab my shoes & by then she was steady on her feet again. Before I knew it, she was in my face, & slammed me into the wall beside the front door, & held me there. My head was the only part I could move.
Two things went through my mind at that moment…
- The pain was intense as my back popped from my tailbone to my neck. It was this incredibly loud POPPOPPOPPOP sound that felt like it went on forever.
- My mother’s eyes had turned BLACK. Jet black! I’d seen that before & it always terrified me.
Suddenly I blacked out, I assume from the intense pain & fear. When I came to a moment later, I was biting her on the arm. She & I were both shocked at what I had done. My shock wore off a bit faster than hers, so I ran out the door & to my car & sped off in a cloud of tire smoke.
I believe my mother wanted to kill me, & if I wouldn’t have blacked out like that, she probably would have succeeded.
Interestingly, I caught up to my father at a traffic light. We pulled over & I told him what happened. We then went to my now ex husband’s parents’ home since it was nearby. My father later went to his parents’ home in Virginia. I moved in with a friend’s parents that night, & got my things from my parents’ home a couple of days later.
Naturally, my mother never accepted any responsibility in this. In fact, when I had to quit working a few months later, she told people I was just lazy & faking back problems to get out of working. And, in 2014, my father mentioned this incident.. He told me it’s ok, I didn’t have to apologize for busting up his wall. How kind, right?! I never even thought of how the wall was damaged, but he said it was really bad. He fixed it though, so I didn’t need to apologize. I told him I had no plans on doing so! Not my fault my mother broke it by slamming me into it!
This incident along with having extremely selfish in-laws who have demanded my husband & I spend the day with them no matter what (I spent it alone when I refused to go) is why I absolutely hate Thanksgiving. Kinda hard to feel warm & fuzzy about the day when there are memories like this assault & years of jerky acting in-laws associated with it.
I honestly thought I was ok with this incident. (Well, as ok as one can be when they think about their mother trying to kill them & father abandoning them to an obviously raging lunatic.) What makes it even harder, I think, is this year, the dates have fallen on the exact days they fell on in 1990, so in some weird way, I almost feel like I’m reliving that time of my life. I feel some of the same shock & anger I felt when it happened, just to a much lesser degree. I feel disappointment too. In my father for abandoning me that night, in my ex for making it all about how he felt about the incident & not caring about my pain (I think he even spent Thanksgiving with his family out of state the following day, if memory serves correctly), & my friend’s father who found it hilarious I bit my mother. I’m even disappointed in my mother for not only attacking me but using it as one more weapon to trash me to other people then expecting me to act like it never happened. I’m also disappointed in myself for failing to press charges against my mother. The thought never crossed my mind until not long ago when I friend mentioned it.
I’m also less than thrilled that thinking about this has made my C-PTSD flare up. Hardly surprising though. So if there are spelling or grammar errors in here, please pardon me. I tried to catch them all a couple of days after writing this, but it doesn’t always happen with flare ups.
I don’t even know why I’m writing all of this as a blog post. I do promise to keep my writing real but even so, this isn’t like me. Usually things like this I write in my journal, maybe sharing details later once I have had some time to come to terms with whatever the trauma was. For some reason though, I felt I needed to write this in my blog instead. Maybe someone who reads my blog needs to see this. If that describes you, Dear Reader, I really hope this post helps you somehow. ❤
Matthew 5:37 “But let your statement be, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’ [a firm yes or no]; anything more than that comes from the evil one.” (AMP)
One common sign that you grew up with a narcissistic parent is the need to over explain everything about yourself. For example, if someone asks you to go with them & you don’t want to, you feel you must give them a very valid reason why you can’t rather than say “I don’t want to go there” or even simply “No.”
Maybe this is because our narcissistic parents made us so afraid of upsetting them, we learned early always to have a reason that they could accept. Anything beat facing that scary narcissistic rage!
In any case, there is rarely a valid need to explain yourself, & definitely no need to over-explain yourself anymore. Even the Bible says in Matthew 5:37 to keep it simple. It doesn’t say you should go into great detail. In fact, it says anything more comes from the “evil one.”
I don’t believe that this Scripture means you are evil if you over explain yourself. I think it tells us that if you feel the need to do so, that someone evil or at least influenced by evil is putting that need in you. If you think about it, mentally healthy people may ask for an explanation, but they don’t need a lot of details & they accept it even if they disagree with it. Narcissists, however, require much more. Let me provide an example..
Years ago, my late covertly narcissistic mother in-law asked me if I could do something for her in a few days. I said no because I had an appointment that day. (Granted, I could’ve moved things around & helped, but frankly, I didn’t want to- she was awful to me every single time we were alone.) At this point, a mentally healthy person would’ve said, “Oh ok..” & figured out someone else to ask for help. Not my mother in-law. She obviously was upset I wouldn’t help her & wanted to know what I had to do that was more important to me than help her. She asked what I had to do & I ignored her question. She said, “Are you doing something for your parents?” I said, “No.” She said, “Well, it must be awful important if you can’t help me…” (nice attempt at guilt, no? lol It didn’t work.) I forget the other things she said, but until my husband & I left her home about 20 minutes later, she continually tried to get me to tell her why I wasn’t able to help her rather than simply accept the fact I had something else to do. (On a funny note: Refusing to give her the information she wanted infuriated her. But, she couldn’t admit that without looking bad in front of my husband & father in-law who were in the room with us. It was hilarious to me, watching her get more & more frustrated & unable to do anything about it as I stayed calm. Not sure how I didn’t laugh in her presence, but I held myself together until we were in the car & away from her home.)
This is typical narcissistic behavior- they feel they have the right to know every tiny detail about you when the truth is, they don’t have that right. My no should have sufficed. She truly didn’t care about me or what was going on in my life. She only wanted to know what I was doing that day so she could use the information to criticize me for not helping her (“You think that is more important than me?! That’s so mean!! What’s wrong with you?”) or blab to her whole family my personal information. Is that behavior not evil?
I think it is a good idea to use the reaction of a person to your “yes” & “no” as a gauge to see how safe a person is. Safe people may sometimes ask you why you said what you did, but are satisfied with a simple explanation such as, “I have an appointment at that time & can’t make it.” Unsafe people will respond as my mother in-law did- refusing to simply accept your answer, & doing their best to get you to explain in great detail why you responded to them as you did.
Non apologies are common among narcissists & their enabling flying monkeys, so you need to be aware of them.
A non apology means someone says they are sorry but it isn’t a genuine apology. Some examples are:
- I’m sorry you feel that way.
- I’m sorry for whatever you think I did.
- I’m sorry if I did something that upset you.
- I’m sorry I said/did that, but if you wouldn’t have said/done what you did, I wouldn’t have said/done what I did.
- I was just upset when I said that.
While these apologies do contain the words “I’m sorry”, they certainly aren’t real apologies. They accept no responsibility for the bad behavior or make any promises this will not happen again or of better behavior in the future.
They also imply something is wrong with the person on the receiving end of the apology. If someone tells you they were just upset when they did something bad, the average person with empathy will feel badly for being upset in the first place because the abuser was upset for what they did & can’t be held accountable for their actions. If the abuser blames you for upsetting them enough to do something bad, the average person will feel badly for doing what they did that “made” the abuser do what they did.
A genuine apology is very different. Even if the person making the apology doesn’t understand why the person offended feels as they do, the offender will promise not to do whatever they did again. They will admit they were being insensitive or thoughtless. They promise to amend their behavior & do it. There isn’t judgment or criticism because someone is upset. There isn’t blame. There is simply love, concern & a desire not to hurt a person again.
When a narcissist or flying monkey gives you a non apology, look out. They are going to resent you for “making” them apologize & you will be punished. They may do the behavior again or do something worse. They may act like nothing happened, which can invalidate your feelings or make you wonder if you imagined what happened or exaggerated how bad it was. When this happens, focus on the truth & what you remember. Keeping a journal can help you, because you can look back on the events which helps you focus on the truth rather than the narcissist’s version of it. And as always, pray. Ask God to help you to stay focused on the truth & to help you act accordingly.
Some covert narcissists are what I think of as the consummate victim. They are the ones who are always wronged, always the victim, & never at fault for anything. Some examples of their behavior are as follows.
The narcissist says something cruel. You get angry, & rightfully so. She claims she never meant to hurt your feelings. She was just trying to help & had no idea what she said would upset you. She then stops speaking to you for weeks, even if you apologized.
The narcissist tries to manipulate you into doing something you don’t want to do. Naturally, you refuse to do it. She claims you don’t love her. How could you refuse to do this one little thing for her, especially after all she’s done for you?!
The narcissist is your elderly parent who expects you to come at their beck & call. You tell your parent you only are available one day a week to do what she needs. She tells your family how you refused to help her, & they attack you for being a bad daughter, ungrateful, a spoiled brat & more.
Narcissists who claim life is so unfair to them or that they are mistreated when people confront them on their abusive behavior are also consummate victims. There are also those who blame their victims for their abusive behavior. They are also consummate victims, as are those who complain about their problems, yet refuse to do something to change the situation.
Dealing with these people is incredibly frustrating, I know. My late father & late mother in-law were both covert narcissists & consummate victims. I repeatedly asked my father not to call after 9 at night. When I refused to take his call when he called at 10 one evening, he called my in-laws & a cousin who lives almost 500 miles away. He told both he was so concerned about me for not answering the phone, & asked them to have me call him immediately. Another time, I was angry with my mother in-law because she had snooped through my purse yet again. She asked my husband why I was angry, & he told her. I overheard the conversation. She claimed not to know what she did would be upsetting to me.
Both situations were similar. As a result of my father’s & mother in-law’s actions, my husband & I got into an argument about his mother & my cousin & I argued about my father. Being the typical consummate victims, their obnoxious behavior caused problems for the real victim while making themselves look good.
There are some things that you can do that can help you if you must deal with this behavior in covert narcissists.
Always rely on God to help you in this situation. He will be glad to help you discern the truth & strengthen you to do whatever you need to do!
Remember the type of person that you’re dealing with. No matter what you do, this person will twist the situation around to make you look bad & them look like the innocent victim of your cruelty. Expect nothing else because this person has no desire to behave any other way.
Also remember that there is nothing wrong with you setting boundaries or confronting this person on their abusive behavior. Both of those are good things to do. They are healthy & show you have self respect.
Consummate victims are very skilled at recruiting flying monkeys. When you set those boundaries or confront the narcissist about her behavior, no matter how gently & reasonably you do so, it’s a safe bet someone will tell you how cruel, unreasonable, wrong, etc. you are. When this happens, ignore whatever these flying monkeys have to say. They don’t know the truth, only what the narcissist has told them. Also, it’s best to refuse to discuss the narcissist with them.
Lastly, it’s also important to remember that consummate victims may project their status on their real victims. It can be easy to believe their lies since narcissists are talented actors who give very convincing performances. To avoid believing their lies, remember that you are NOT a consummate victim if you are angry about being abused, setting healthy boundaries or refusing to be manipulated.
If you are faced with a covert narcissist who portrays herself as a consummate victim, you can cope. You have the knowledge & strength to handle this ugly situation.
Many years before my father died, he gave me his Bible and asked that I place it in his casket when he died.
He died October 23, 2017. I remembered the Bible, and knew that even though I hadn’t spoken to him or my mother in quite some time, I needed to keep my promise about placing it in his casket. The day after he passed away, I got it off the closet shelf, and opened it up for the first time. I skimmed through things, putting aside things that didn’t look sentimental and putting the sentimental things back into the Bible. I came across a piece of paper that was folded up very small. It was something my father had written & I’d never seen. Notes documenting some things my mother did to me & said about me to him. Pretty sure my heart skipped a beat when I realized what I was looking at! I was absolutely shocked! I assume because my father’s memory was so damaged from a TBI at age 15, he documented things to be sure he wouldn’t forget. It was a smart move, especially considering the gaslighting my mother put him through (yes, knowing about the brain damage, she used it to her advantage!). Anyway, I put his notes aside to read later since I couldn’t cope with that at the time. My focus had to be to get that Bible to the funeral parlor to be placed in his casket. I accomplished my mission with the help of my husband that day, by the way.
A few days later, I read the notes. It was quite overwhelming to put it mildly. Even after all of this time, it’s still pretty overwhelming. I’m still glad I have them though. They helped validate my pain as well as give me some insight into my father & why he failed to protect me from my mother.
I thought I’d share them here. Now you, Dear Reader, can see what I experienced, & know you’re not alone. Narcissistic mother’s do terrible, terrible things, & I have written evidence of some of those things.
I also wrote comments of what I believe was happening in these events so others can learn about narcissistic behavior from examples.
I have another purpose for sharing this information, & that purpose is selfish, I admit it. I have zero doubt at least one of my abusive flying monkey relatives (but I believe more) read my work. I want them to see this undeniable proof that my mother abused me & my father didn’t protect me. These people are what they were so blindly devoted to. I know I can’t make them accept the truth, of course, but I can fling it at them & hope for the best. Maybe a seed will be planted…
Reading these can be very triggering. If you don’t feel strong enough to read details of narcissistic abuse at this time, you really should consider skipping this post. You can always come back to it at another time.
Here we are… my father’s notes. His handwriting can be a bit hard to read so I typed everything out. I’m showing both versions to see side by side, so no one can say I’m lying. I typed each line out exactly as he wrote it for clarity, & my comments are on the side.
My father’s notes…
Second page of my father’s notes
Last page of my father’s notes
**I have NO idea why, but this video turned out with a black screen rather than like the normal videos. The audio works just fine though. I apologize for any inconvenience!**
Whether overt or covert, narcissists are control freaks. They must be in control of their environment & the people in it at all times. We all know overt narcissists use fear & covert narcissists guilt to accomplish this, but there are other methods they also use.
Narcissists may use ignoring a person as a means of control. They accomplish this in many ways. They may simply ignore the victim in conversation, acting as if the person didn’t say anything when they did. The narcissist may talk over the victim in conversation. They may conveniently “forget” to invite the victim to a gathering. If the victim arrives with someone, the narcissist may greet that person while ignoring the victim. When a person is ignored this way, they may shut down, fading quietly into the background which leaves more room for the narcissist to get attention. Or, they may question the narcissist, wondering what they did wrong & pleading with the narcissist to forgive them. Ignoring a victim also lets that person know that the narcissist thinks they are unworthy of the narcissist’s attention, so the victim may try harder & harder to please the narcissist.
Interrupting is another display of dominance narcissists use. When most people have a conversation, & someone interrupts them, they stop talking to let the interrupting person talk. Narcissists will use this natural proclivity to their advantage. My father used this tactic a LOT. In fact, he put a unique spin on it. When I started talking, he would open his mouth as if he was going to talk, then close it quickly. Naturally, I thought I was interrupting him, so I encouraged him to talk. One day after a visit, I prayed about it. I don’t usually interrupt people, so why was I doing it with him?! God showed me I wasn’t. My father was using this tactic to get me to stop talking so he could talk. I hate bad manners, he knew it & used that to dominate our conversations.
Shock is a big favorite with narcissists. If a narcissist is a part of a group of people & not the center of attention, that narcissist is incredibly uncomfortable. She feels out of sorts, & will do whatever it takes to restore her position of being in control & being the center of attention. One method she may use to regain her position is by shocking everyone in the group. She may start talking loudly & suddenly about an entirely different topic of conversation. She may blurt out some weird or disturbing facts that is so odd that it gets everyone’s attention. She may walk away while someone is talking, make a loud noise or even spill her purse to restore the balance of power she wants. My mother once broke into song when my father & I left her out of our conversation. Remember the old musical, “Oklahoma!”? Apparently my mother does. She started singing the theme song. Loudly. Since this was well before I knew anything about NPD, my father & I ended our conversation at that point. Attention was focused back on her, as she wanted.
Possibly the most disgusting way narcissist try to assert their dominance is with body functions. Even passing gas or burping isn’t too low for a narcissist desperate enough to establish dominance. They also may blow their nose extremely loudly or make the sounds more disgusting than need be. If they don’t use a body function, they will at least talk about them. My mother has irritable bowel syndrome & has absolutely no trouble discussing all the gory details of it. Body functions are so seldom a part of a conversation in any way that when it happens, people are naturally shocked & notice the person who brought them into the conversation.
The best way I’ve found to deal with these dominant behaviors is very simple. Ignore them. Pretend the narcissist didn’t say or do anything unusual. Carry on with your conversation as usual. If she interrupts you, you can either talk over her or wait until she is finished, then resume your previous conversation. If she ignores you, pretend not to notice. The same goes if she uses shock value or body functions- pretend you notice nothing whatsoever. By ignoring the narcissist’s attempts to dominate, you aren’t allowing her to dominate. You’re depriving her of narcissistic supply, which is the best thing you can do with any narcissist.
Narcissists love to have power over their victims. To hurt someone either mentally, physically or sexually gives them a feeling of power. Possibly the only thing that makes narcissists feel even more powerful is watching their victim suck up to them.
When a victim is genuinely repentant & will do anything to make it up to their abuser, this is a huge power trip for the narcissist. They know they can make that victim do anything at this point. There also is the added bonus of the victim accepting responsibility for whatever the narcissist did. This means the narcissist doesn’t have to take any blame at all. (Not that they would anyway, but at least in this situation, they don’t have to work to pawn that blame off on someone else).
Narcissists are incredibly good at manipulation & gaslighting- making a person doubt their own thoughts, feelings, perceptions & even sanity. Because of this, it’s no wonder many victims in the midst of narcissistic abuse continually apologize & suck up to their abuser. I certainly have done my fair share of it before learning about narcissism. (If you have too, there’s nothing to be ashamed of. I doubt there is one victim of narcissistic abuse that hasn’t apologized to their abuser at least a couple of times.)
If you’re still in a relationship with a narcissist, I’m sure you’re faced with the scenario at least periodically, where the narcissist is angry with you & demands that you apologize. Or maybe she prefers suddenly to stop speaking to you, with no explanation whatsoever, in an attempt to make you rush to her side, begging for her to speak to you again.
Having been there, I learned something. Don’t do it!!!
If you have done something wrong, then by all means, apologize. It’s just the right, mature thing to do. Say you’re sorry, make things right if you can, & move on.
If you haven’t done something wrong, then do NOT apologize! If you do it once, the narcissist will demand you do it again & again. She will use you & wear you down to get you to make it up to her for whatever horrible thing you supposedly did.
If a person can’t behave like a mature adult by trying to work out a problem, then don’t treat them as if they are one. Let that narcissist pout like the bratty child she’s acting like while you ignore her ridiculous display. If she’s trying to make you feel guilty, pretend not to notice. If she hints for an apology, also pretend not to notice. Learn to enjoy the silent treatment if you’re on the receiving end of it. It’s a reprieve from unnecessary drama- why not enjoy it?
Stop trying to make it up to a narcissist who isn’t telling you what you’ve done wrong or who blames you for them abusing you! It only provides them with narcissistic supply, & the more you provide, the more they will demand from you.
Making it up to someone you have hurt is one thing. It should be a normal thing for a person to do as well as the one hurt to expect. However, when someone constantly expects another person to make it up to them without trying to talk things out, or because they abused their victim, something is very, very wrong with this situation.
Since my last post was about red flags in those who write about narcissism, I thought I’d make today’s post about fellow survivors.
Most people who have survived narcissistic abuse are good people who are trying hard to recover. Naturally they have issues, but at least they’re working on them & working on getting healthier. They also are willing to share what they learn to help others in similar situations, & do so without any arrogance. They’re also open to input from other people, because they realize they don’t know it all- there is always more to learn on this topic.
Not every victim is this way, however. Some turn abusive.
I don’t know why some victims try to heal & why some become abusive but it does happen sometimes. If you’re going to interact with other victims through online support groups, reading blogs or on social media, you need to be aware of some red flags.
The biggest red flag to watch out for is narcissism. Many of you know the signs already so I won’t repeat them here. I’ll just share a link to the page on my website where I wrote about it if you care to check it out: http://cynthiabaileyrug.com/Narcissistic-Personality-Disorder.php
There are other red flags, too. If a person gives advice too freely, for example. While most victims want to help others, they also realize how rude it is to give unasked for advice. They also realize sometimes a person just needs to speak things out loud to help them work through a situation, & that doesn’t mean they’re looking for advice.
If a person is bossy or demanding with their advice, that’s another red flag. Most people realize that all people are individuals. What worked for them may not work for another. They realize it’s not a good idea to try to force someone to follow their advice & let the other person decide for themselves whether or not to follow it.
Your average victim of narcissistic abuse also isn’t judgmental or critical. They know all too well what it feels like to be judged & criticized so harshly, so they don’t inflict that on anyone else. Some victims turned abusers, however, can be extremely judgmental & critical.
Some victims also become very arrogant. They seem to think because they found success in doing something that helped them, that everyone should follow in their footsteps & if they don’t, they’re foolish.
These same people are also usually the first ones to shame people who, “don’t just go no contact.” They make it clear they don’t believe there is any reason not to go no contact, & they offer no compassion to anyone who wants to but it unable to or is trying to find another option.
Abusive victims also make excuses. If they are short with someone, it’s always for a reason like they’re having a bad da, as one example. They don’t apologize or accept responsibility for the hurtful things they do.
And, if you call a person like this out on their actions, they WILL be furious. They may offer a non apology. They may offer lame excuses for their behavior. They also may get mad at you. That in particular is a big red flag, because most victims of narcissistic abuse apologize easily & often. They don’t get mad when called out on their bad behavior. They usually get mad only when someone is accusing them of something they didn’t do.
One other red flag is a smear campaign. This is very common on social media. If someone feels the online support group they participated in wasn’t a good environment for example, social media is an easy way to let the world know how you feel about it. That is pretty normal behavior, I think, but if a person posts about that group in a way that really trashes it, that is a red flag.
The last red flag is stalking or harassing another person online. With your average victim of narcissistic abuse, they may have a dispute with someone then either stop speaking with them or even block them entirely. A victim who is also abusive however, may harass or stalk someone who disagreed with them. They may leave nasty comments on their page or join groups the other person is in & harass them in the group. This nonsense can go on for a very long time, especially with narcissists.
The best advice I can give in these situations is the Gray Rock method. Don’t react to their outrageous behavior or show them that what they do bothers you. Remain calm & ignore their behavior. Don’t defend yourself to their smear campaigns. Instead, simply block them wherever you can. Most people like this will get bored easily & leave you alone at this point. Narcissists may not be so simple to get rid of however. They may bother you for a long time. Never, ever respond to them- instead keep blocking them & their flying monkeys.
No doubt you have heard about passive/aggressive behavior, but do you know what it is? You need to know, because many narcissists behave in this way.
Passive/aggressive behavior is very sneaky. It makes you wonder if the person acting that way is mad at you or not. The worst part may be that when you confront the passive/aggressive person, they have a plausible sounding explanation for their behavior. This makes you doubt your perception of the situation. Plausible deniability is always a part of passive/aggression, as is the desire to punish another person.
Passive/aggressive behavior is deliberately inefficient, quiet in that the person refuses to discuss their needs & avoids responsibility. Some examples of it are….
Not doing things well. A passive/aggressive spouse may put the laundry in the washer but fail to put them in the dryer for hours claiming he thought you would do that. Or, she may leave your car with virtually no gas in it after using it after you argue. Usually whatever is done poorly is something that has happened countless times before, & rather than argue about it, you just fix the problem quietly.
Running late. Some people are always running behind due to poor time management skills, being forgetful or another reasonable excuse. Passive/aggressive people, however, are not that way. If they have a punctual partner, you can guarantee that they will run late periodically solely for the purpose of irritating that partner. They may say they forgot that special event was in an hour, so they will take their time getting ready & you end up leaving two minutes before the event is due to start.
The silent treatment. Passive/aggressive people love the silent treatment. Rather than saying,, “I was upset when you did something.. can we work it out?” they simply stop talking to you. If you try to ask what is wrong, they refuse to admit anything is wrong or get angry at you for not knowing what is wrong. The silent treatment is designed to make you come crawling to the person & work hard to gain their forgiveness. Don’t fall for it!
Backhanded complements. We’ve all heard these at some point. Passive/aggressive people use them often. Comments like, “Nice hair cut. It really helps hide all that gray hair.” or, “I used to have an outfit just like that! I stopped wearing it after high school though.” are just two examples of backhanded complements. If a passive/aggressive person says such a comment to you, chances are he or she feels threatened by you in some way. Maybe that person thinks you look more attractive than they do, you’re smarter or more talented. Sometimes backhanded complements can be hard to spot, so just notice how you feel when someone gives you a complement. Genuine complements leave you wanting to thank the person & feeling good. Backhanded complements leave you feeling offended & even confused wondering what the person who said it meant by their words.
Fake concern. Closely related to the backhanded complements are the fake concern comments. When a passive/aggressive persons says, “I don’t mean to sound judgmental/insensitive, but…” you can guarantee the next words out of that person’s mouth will be judgmental &/or insensitive. This is their way of saying nasty things to you while appearing to be helpful. If you say anything about how judgmental or insensitive the person is at this point, you are going to look like a jerk to anyone who doesn’t realize what is happening. That is a bonus for a passive/aggressive person- making you look bad on top of insulting you.
Destruction & sabotage. Sometimes passive/aggressive people will “accidentally” destroy something important to you when they’re upset with you. That could be something like “accidentally” spilling red wine on your favorite white shirt or a coworker “forgetting” to tell you that the project you’ve been working hard on is no longer due next week, but in two days.
So, how can a person deal with the obnoxious passive/aggressive behavior? First, be aware of it. Learn what you can about recognizing the signs.
Second, set & enforce good boundaries. If your friend is always late, stop waiting on her. Meet her at the restaurant & order without her. Or, stop hanging out with her at all.
Third, never forget to stay calm at all times. Pretend not to be flustered by their actions. If you show that you are upset, they will do it again & again.
Forth, never forget to pray. God will help you to identify & deal with this awful behavior in the most effective ways possible. All you have to do is ask Him to.
Narcissists love using shame as a weapon. Not only does it make them feel superior, but it takes attention off of their bad behavior while simultaneously discrediting their victim. It also makes a victim easy to control. Shame is a very effective weapon.
There are various ways narcissists use shame.
Narcissists reinvent the past. They tell stories differently than they actually happened. They either claim to be the reason someone succeeded or twist the story so the other person looks stupid, like a failure, etc. Since narcissists speak with such certainty, this can make a victim doubt their own memories & feel ashamed for something they didn’t even do.
They tell embarrassing stories about their victim. Narcissistic parents in particular seem to love this one. They tell stories that the victim would rather people don’t know about. My mother used this one with me, telling stories (usually in front of other people) of when I was a child & did stupid things. When I said I didn’t want her discussing these stories, she would shame me for how I felt, saying I was wrong & shouldn’t feel the way I did. It took a long time to realize that I wasn’t wrong- my feelings were just & this was nothing but an attempt on her part to make me feel shame.
Playing the role of victim. No matter what a narcissist does to a victim, they have the amazing ability to spin the situation in their favor, so they look like the victim, & the real victim is abusive. This can create shame in a victim very easily unless the victim is well aware of this game.
Religion can become a weapon. No true narcissist can be a Christian at the same time. Narcissism is diametrically opposed to the beliefs of Christianity. However, that doesn’t mean a narcissist won’t use Christianity to shame victims. Growing up, my mother told me I was going to hell for how badly I treated her. Later in life, a flying monkey said I was a bad Christian for treating my parents as I do & claiming to be a Christian. Thankfully, I also have a good enough relationship with God to know what they said was utter nonsense. If I didn’t, that comment would have caused a great deal of hurt & doubting my salvation!
“I was only joking!” “You’re too sensitive!” Nasty comments said to a victim followed by, “I was just kidding!” “Can’t you take a joke?” “You’re so sensitive!” & the like are also designed to make a victim feel ashamed for being righteously angry that they were offended by the narcissist’s cruel words. The goal is to make you feel ashamed of yourself for not realizing the narcissist was only kidding (which they weren’t) or being so sensitive you were offended by their “joke.” Don’t fall for it. You aren’t wrong!
Comparisons. If you & the narcissist have done similar things, you can guarantee the narcissist has done it better, at least if you listen to her side of the story. Everything with narcissists is a pissing contest (sorry to be crude- that’s the best term I know of to describe this situation). If you found a cure for cancer, they found it first, but didn’t want to brag like you’re doing! See what I mean? If they can make you feel badly for not being as good or as talented as them, that sows a seed for shame in you.
Talking down to others. Even a narcissist that isn’t overly intelligent can make a very intelligent victim feel stupid, & ashamed of being so stupid. Narcissists love to talk in circles & use big words (often that they don’t know the proper definition of & not in context). If you leave a conversation with a narcissist & your head is swimming, it’s not because you’re stupid. It’s because narcissists are masters of talking in circles, which is also known as word salad.
Acting as if the narcissist is the adult, the victim the child. This is very common among narcissistic parents. They’re all about keeping their children, children, no matter their child’s age. A person who thinks they’re immature & not wise like the narcissist is very easy to control. Narcissistic parents may continue using a tone of voice that intimidated their children when they were growing up well into that child’s adulthood. They may call victims immature or mock them with phrases like, “You’re such a baby/child!” “You’re so immature!” “You need to grow up!”
Remember this post if you’re faced with these behaviors. You do NOT need to feel shame! No one should put that on you, but narcissists will try to. If they do, never accept it. Ask God to tell you the truth. Also, look at your situation objectively & you will realize the truth. Write about it in a journal, too, since writing often gives a great deal of clarity that speaking can’t. You can deal with this unhealthy behavior in a healthy way!
One especially devious, creative ways narcissists abuse their victims is cementing facts in their brains. What I mean is, a narcissist can imply something once, then reinforce what they said by their actions instead of words. The result is you feel a certain way, & if you say anything to the narcissist, they will say they don’t know what you’re talking about or deny that they ever said anything in the first place.
As one example from my life, I have a terrible time admitting when I don’t feel well, taking time to recover or asking for help. I feel like I need to be OK at all times so I don’t upset anyone or burden anyone by asking them for help. I even question myself, wondering if I really have whatever problem I am dealing with at the time, even when my symptoms are glaringly obvious.
Do you have some false belief cemented in your mind too? If so, you’re not alone! This sort of thing happens all the time to children of narcissistic parents. There are some ways to cope.
As always, I recommend praying as the first step. Ask God for wisdom, to help you heal & anything else you can think of.
When it comes to healing, I firmly believe in getting to the root of the problem. It’s the most effective way to resolve the problem permanently. To do this, try to remember the earliest time in your life when you felt a certain way, & then deal with it from there. To explain it, I’ll tell you what I did.
When considering how hard a time I’ve had admitting I have health problems, I thought back over my life, present to past, during times I was sick or injured. I remembered many, many times when my mother didn’t believe I had a health problem unless it was something very obvious, like a bad case of the flu. As a child, she complained when she had to take care of me when I was sick. When I was only 5 years old, my mother woke me up one morning by tickling me. In trying to get away from her, I slipped & hit my head on the big wooden headboard. Long story short, the result was a trip to the ER & several stitches in my scalp. Afterward, my mother took me to the mall & bought me a coloring book & crayons, something she complained about buying for years. During the experience, my mother didn’t comfort me. She was upset & I felt completely responsible for that.
These experiences taught me that I shouldn’t burden anyone with my health concerns, I should be “ok” at all times so as not to upset anyone & my problems aren’t important.
To undo this warped thinking, I found it very helpful to look at things very logically, ignoring feelings for the moment. Here are some things I came up with:
- Why did my mother take me to the mall after a trip to the hospital?! I had a head injury! I should’ve been home, resting quietly. She could’ve called my father & asked him to pick up the coloring book & crayons on his way home from work, or asked a friend or neighbor to do it.
- My mother should never have complained to me about how hard that incident was for her or having to take care of me when I was sick. That is what parents do. It’s a part of the job.
- Why has my mother not believed me or blamed me about health issues as an adult? Since narcissists love projection, it makes me think it’s because she has either exaggerated or even faked her own health problems & thinks other people do the same
I can’t honestly say that I’m 100% ok now. I can say though, that since thinking about these things, I’ve already gotten better at admitting when I don’t feel well. I haven’t needed to ask anyone for help yet, but I am certain that will be easier too. It seems to me that when you face things, they lose much of their power over you. When you examine them & realize how wrong they were, they lose even more power.
What false beliefs are cemented in your mind? I would like to encourage you today to face them. No, it isn’t easy, but it is possible. The things I mentioned earlier did hurt me when I first thought about them, & made me angry. However, I’m still glad I did because that enabled me to remove the false beliefs I’ve carried around my entire life & replace them with healthier beliefs. I firmly believe the same thing can happen to you!
One weapon narcissists use is to tell their victims “I know you better than you know yourself.” While it may sound rather innocuous, that phrase, especially when said by a parent to a child, can be devastating to the self esteem.
My mother said this to me my entire childhood. I ended up feeling like I was stupid (how can a person not know themselves after all?!) & like I had to look to her to know what I liked & didn’t like, my opinions on things, what I should & shouldn’t do. I was so insecure, & partly because of that stupid phrase! Even now, in my mid 40’s, I have issues sometimes with figuring out what I really like & don’t like.
Have you heard this insidious phrase from your narcissistic parent too? If so, you’re not alone!
The key to letting go of the insecurity caused by hearing this phrase is to pay attention to yourself. Get to know you. The real you, the person God made you to be & not the person your narcissistic parent tried to make you into. Notice how you truly feel about everything.
Chances are, when you first start to do this, you’ll feel some guilt, like you’re going against your narcissistic parent’s wishes. That is normal. Just remind yourself that you are allowed to be an individual. God created you to be an individual. You were made to be you, not some cheap imitation of you & certainly not some lump of clay molded by a narcissistic parent only concerned with their wishes.
As you begin to know yourself, your narcissistic parent will disapprove. Don’t let that disapproval discourage you. The disapproval doesn’t mean you’re wrong or a bad person at all! It means the narcissist is disappointed in you for not continuing to allow her to control you. If your narcissistic parent attempts to make you feel bad, wrong, guilty or ashamed because you’ve changed, pretend you don’t notice. Ignore the comments! You do what is best for you, NOT the narcissist!
As anyone with experience with a narcissist knows, they accept no blame for anything they have done. Ever. You can confront them about something terrible they have done, then later walk away wondering why you just apologized to them instead of them apologizing to you. This post will help you identify some of the common blame shifting behaviors so you won’t fall for them in the future.
Probably the most common thing that narcissists do to shift the blame is to play the victim. This is especially common with covert narcissists, but overt ones will do it as well. The narcissist will turn your legitimate concern around in such a way that you feel as if you’re being too hard on that person, overreacting or being too sensitive. After all, they never had any idea that what they said or did would hurt you, they say. Or, they may bring up some (probably imaginary) thing you did in the past, claiming that is abusive, & turning the topic of the conversation to that incident rather than your topic.
Closely related to playing the victim is the guilt trip done to shift blame. They may tell you about something painful that they experienced in their childhood or say things like, “Why are you yelling at me? I didn’t mean to hurt you!” Before you know it, you’re comforting them even though they hurt you!
They often accuse their victims of bad or even abusive behavior, but especially during the times when they are confronted. This is an effective way to shift the blame from the narcissist to the victim. My mother did this to me when I was growing up. She said I made her do something bad to me because of how terrible I was acting. On my seventeenth birthday, she destroyed my gifts that my now ex husband gave me, then made me clean up the mess she made. She said because I was “acting so snotty”, which is what made her destroy those gifts. The truth was when I took the gifts from school to her car at the end of my day, I was terrified what she was going to do to me because she hated my ex, & was quiet. I wasn’t “acting snotty”- I was acting terrified!
Narcissists also minimize the feelings of their victims to shift blame to the victim. Basically, this shifts the blame to the victim for how they responded to the abuse rather than the abuse itself. They may say things like “You’re too sensitive,” “You’re crazy,” or “I was just joking!”
When you’re talking with a narcissist & these things happen, then you can be certain they are attempting to shift the blame off of themselves. The best thing you can do is to redirect the conversation back to the original topic, as calmly as you can. Wait on the narcissist to finish whatever she is saying, then calmly say something, “Ok, but that isn’t what we were talking about. We will address that later. We’re discussing ____ at the moment.” You may have to do that a few times, but keep doing it. If that doesn’t work, try saying, “We’ll talk about this another time when you are ready to talk,” then leave or hang up the phone, & approach her another time in the very near future.
Unfortunately with narcissists, there is never an easy answer. Doing what I suggested may not work at all for you in the sense of being able to hash out the problem at hand. However, the good thing is it will let that narcissist know that you aren’t going to be fooled by the blame shifting nor will you be pushed around.
Being raised by a narcissistic parent or two causes a person to act differently than people raised by healthy, functional parents. Aside from the most obvious common problem, C-PTSD, being raised by narcissists creates certain unique behaviors that almost every victim exhibits. This post addresses those behaviors.
Being afraid to say no. Narcissists don’t allow their children to have boundaries. “No” can be met with abuse- name calling, scathing criticisms, guilt trips & even physical violence. Children use “yes” as a survival skill as a result. They learn early in life that it’s easier to do whatever their narcissistic parent wants than to say “no” & face the consequences. This behavior becomes such a habit that it is often carried into adulthood. While it served a good purpose as a child, it no longer does as an adult. Being a healthy adult means having healthy boundaries. You need to start asking yourself why are you saying yes? Are you saying yes because you want to or because you’re afraid of disappointing someone if you say no? Start saying no when you’re saying yes when you don’t want to. Some people won’t like it, but one thing to keep in mind- healthy, good, caring people respect boundaries. Users & abusers don’t. If someone gets upset with you for having a healthy boundary, that isn’t the kind of person you need in your life.
Apologizing too much. Narcissistic parents blame their children for every single thing, so their children learn to apologize for everything, whether or not it’s their fault. This dysfunctional survival skill also carries into adulthood, & needs to stop. When you feel the urge to apologize, pray. Ask God is this truly your fault? Should you apologize or are you only doing so out of habit?
Being unable to express emotions in a healthy way. Narcissists can’t handle the emotions of other people, including their children. They force their children to stifle their emotions, often by shaming them for having them. This tells children their emotions are bad. To cope, may continue to repress their emotions while others express them in inappropriate ways such as getting angrier than is appropriate for the situation. It can be hard, I know, but you need to learn to get in touch with your emotions & give them a healthy outlet. Ask God to help you to do this, because it will get scary, especially showing anger after a lifetime of stifling it. Journaling can be helpful, too- seeing things in writing brings clarity.
Not trusting your intuition & perception. Constant gaslighting is possibly the most cruel form of abuse there is, & also a favorite of narcissists. Gaslighting makes a person second guess everything about themselves- their instincts, perception, feelings, thoughts- because it makes a victim feel that they are wrong about everything or even crazy. The fact is though that you aren’t wrong or crazy- you are FINE! The gaslighting made you doubt these things but it doesn’t mean that they are actually wrong or flawed somehow. Your instincts, perceptions, feelings & thoughts are just fine. They are trustworthy! Ask God to help you to learn to trust yourself. Pay attention, too. You’ll see that the more you you’re right about little things, the more you learn to trust yourself.
Over explaining yourself. Narcissistic parents demand their children behave in certain ways that are acceptable to them, no matter how their child feels about it. When the child fails to meet the impossibly high expectations, the parent demands an explanation for the failure. One more dysfunctional survival skill children of narcissists learn is to explain anything & everything, & again, this often continues into adulthood. It feels strange at first to stop over explaining yourself, but if you stick with it, it gets more comfortable as time goes on. Always remember, not everyone needs an explanation for what you do.
These behaviors, although dysfunctional, don’t have to be permanent. With prayer & work, you can make healthy changes.
Silence is one of any narcissist’s best weapons. They do NOT want their victims to talk to anyone about what the narcissist is doing, nor do they want their victim to feel safe enough to confront them on their abusive behavior. To prevent those things from happening, they use various ways to silence victims.
An extremely common tactic narcissists use is gaslighting. If a narcissist can convince a victim that something happened differently than they remember or it didn’t even happen in the first place, the victim won’t discuss the event. Why would they? Convincing victims that they don’t remember things right or are making up some wild stories will keep them quiet. They feel crazy enough- why should they say things that would make them look crazy too?
Shaming is an effective weapon to create silence as well. If a narcissist can convince a victim that the victim is a terrible person, that victim will be quiet. That person feels as if she or he is stupid or crazy or even unworthy to “burden” other people. A person who carries shame is a quiet person. I know- I have been there. Granted, I’m quiet by nature but prior to learning about shame, it was much worse. For example, I felt there was something deeply wrong with me for being upset about the terrible things my ex did to me, so I kept most things to myself. As a result, when we separated, no one cared to hear my side- everyone took his side with only a couple of exceptions. They never heard me complain before, so they figured everything must have been OK between us.
Another facet of shaming is when a narcissist is confronted about their behavior & states that behavior wouldn’t upset her. She has no idea why you’re upset. My mother did this one to me regarding her nastiness about one of my cats. Chester is a big cat, but he’s very muscular My mother called him fat more times than I can count. I’d told her to stop being so mean repeatedly with no results. Eventually I complained about it to my father, who told her what I said. She called me & said she had no idea why I’d be upset. She actually said, “If someone called me fat, I’d just tell them they were right. I certainly wouldn’t be angry about it!” I knew immediately that statement was supposed to make me feel shame for being angry with her. It didn’t work. It just made me angry she would try such a ridiculous tactic.
Projection is also effective for silencing a victim. When a narcissist accuses a victim of some terrible behavior, it usually stuns a person. Most people will assume the narcissist is right, examine their behavior & try to make improvements, at least until they learn about projection & understand what is being done to them.
Triangulation is another effective way narcissists silence victims. If a narcissist can convince their victim that other people would think, feel or respond as the narcissist, that makes the victim feel isolated. The victim may think he or she is crazy, stupid, oversensitive & a host of other awful things. Who would want to talk when they feel that way?
Invalidation is another excellent way to silence a victim. Invalidation basically says that every single thing about you is wrong, flawed & even crazy. It makes a person feel as if they cannot trust their own thoughts, feelings or perceptions. No one who feels that messed up is going to feel able to confront a narcissist or tell others that they are being abused. In fact, invalidation makes people feel as if they are NOT being abused, & they are completely wrong & crazy for thinking such a thing in the first place.
Creating anxiety & fear in a victim also makes the person quiet. If a victim is afraid of another, that victim isn’t going to want to do anything that may provoke that person’s anger. In fact, they will do anything to avoid that anger. That often includes refusing to confront their abuser or tell anyone about the abuse. After all, what if the person they tell confronts the abuser? It’s much safer to keep the abuse a secret.
Narcissists also love to wear a person down to make them easier to force into silence. They can do this by sleep deprivation if they live with a victim or by harassment if not. They constantly call, email or text. The sheer volume of calls, emails & texts can wear a person down. It takes a great deal of strength to ignore your phone’s constant ringing or alerts to receiving new emails & texts. It probably doesn’t sound so bad, but I can tell you, being on the receiving end of it, it really is stressful & exhausting!
No one can forget a narcissistic rage. These happen when a narcissist receives a narcissistic injury of some sort, which basically is a blow to their self-esteem. Talking to others about the narcissist’s abusive ways or confronting a narcissist about them is definitely a narcissistic injury & will result in a rage. The rage of an overt narcissist is usually loud & vicious. Name calling & cursing aren’t above them. The rage of a covert narcissist is much quieter, & it involves the silent treatment & scathing criticisms to make you feel intense guilt. A person would do about anything to avoid this rage, & that includes suffering in silence, not telling anyone about the abuse they endure or confronting the narcissist about it.
Diversion is another excellent way to silence victims. Anyone who has confronted a narcissist has no doubt seen this in action. The conversation starts out with a victim stating that they have a problem with the narcissist’s behavior, & it ends up discussing something entirely different. Often, it ends up with the narcissist accusing the victim of some awful or even abusive behavior, & the victim apologizing. The original topic was abandoned, & no resolution was made. Sometimes diversion isn’t so obvious though. Sometimes, the narcissist simply changes the subject & continues to ramble on & on, leaving the victim so frustrated that they give up.
Lastly smear campaigns are very commonly used. If a narcissist can’t stop you from confronting them or telling others what they have done to you, they will not hesitate to tell everyone they meet what a terrible person you are. They’ll have plenty of evidence to prove their point, too, even if they have to lie about it. If they can discredit you, they know others won’t believe what you say. It also is revenge. You made them look bad, so they are returning the favor.
When these things happen, remember that these are simply tactics that are supposed to silence you. Don’t give in! You have every right to talk to whoever about whatever you want. It’s your life, the narcissist is only a part of it. If that person wanted you to speak kinder about or to her, she should behave better.